Altering My Prayer Ratio

This weekend I preached some very well known verses from the end of Matthew 28 (you can watch it here). It is a text that for many conjures up a blend of desire mixed with conviction mixed with shame, because, if you are a Christian, making disciples is something you want to do but too often don’t. Consequently, we can find ourselves carrying this nagging sense of failure over our lack of disciple making.

Yet part of what makes Matthew 28:16-20 so beautiful is that as you read these verses you find that Jesus is well aware of the difficulties attached to this assignment. The human propensity is to insolate and isolate ourselves with people just like us to the point that it becomes more and more difficult to do what Jesus has command us to do.

This is why “go” in verse 19 is an imperative. A tiny word with massive implications. It not only compels us to leave the comfort and safety of our disciple saturated social circles, it also compels us to pray differently.

As I have surveyed the bulk of my evangelistic prayers I have found that the ratio tends to favor prayers about God saving and God bring people to me. Neither is bad, but what I found noticeably scarce were prayers reflecting Jesus’ imperative in Matthew 28 and Jesus’ own instruction about evangelistically driven prayer earlier in Matthew’s gospel.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”                                Matthew 9:37–38, ESV (emphasis added)

So many Christians (myself included) are almost exclusively praying prayers in contrast to the “Great Commission” (i.e.- “Lord send people my way”) when the prayer that flows directly out of Matthew 28:19 is: “Lord, where do you want me to go?”

It seems that Jesus is calling us to reshape our prayers in a way that focuses less on God to bring them, and more on God sending us.

Praying Matthew 9:37-38 can’t help but move us to fulfill the plea of that prayer with our own lives.


David Lindell is the West Campus Pastor at James River Church. To view content and messages from David visit

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About me

David Lindell

David Lindell

David serves as the Campus Ministries Director and West Campus pastor at James River Church in Springfield, Missouri. He has theology degrees from Evangel University (BA) and Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM). David has written for Christianity Today and currently writes for James River Church’s blog. He is married to Becky and they have three children: Owen, Elliot, and Henley. You can follow him on Twitter @davidlindell